Many might know Rick Steves from his popular travel show on public television, but on Friday, Oct. 5 Steves will be in Fargo for a different reason: to talk about the legalization of marijuana. Steves will be at North Dakota State speaking in favor of Measure 3, the recreational marijuana ballot, in the Room of Nations in the Memorial Union.
Bradley Foster, the president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), said besides Steves’ speech, there will also be voting information and “a surprise” at the end. The voting information will include voting districts and how a student can partake in the process.
Rick Steves is a world-renowned traveler, entrepreneur and an author of over 50 books, Foster said.
The travel guru is on the board of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Foster said Steves has “always been sort of a supporter for saying something’s wrong with the current system, (and that) we need to look at alternatives.”
According to ricksteves.com, “If mature adults want to smoke marijuana recreationally in the privacy of their own homes, that is their own decision.”
According to Foster, the selling point for this event is that it gives students a chance to see someone with a lot of experience. “This could be a perspective-enhancing discussion for a lot of students,” Foster said.
Foster said if college kids get involved in the process and make a difference in a deeply red state like North Dakota, it could signal a change in how parts of the country view measures like this one.
The SSDP will also hold a public forum on Oct. 11 that will bring together both sides on Measure 1, which establishes an ethics commission for the state government, and Measure 3, which is to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. “The gist of the event is that we are going to have people who are against the measure and people who are for (the measures),” Foster said. According to Foster, the event will include time for both sides to debate the measures and answer questions from the audience.
Measure 3 has been hotly debated since its inception, with naysayers pointing to the bill’s loose formatting as a potential issue. Robert Wefeld, a former district attorney in North Dakota, said in an op-ed for the Bismarck Tribune, “If Measure 3 passes, there will be unlimited and unregulated marijuana, and there will be no income as the measure does not make any provision for a special tax.”
Wefeld also referenced the problems states that have legalized marijuana are having.